Incineration recommended for Dublin waste

Consultants recommend burning solution to rising municipal waste volume

Up to a quarter of Dublin's municipal waste should be incinerated, a team of Irish and Danish consultants recommended today. Unveiling an officially commissioned waste management strategy for Ireland's capital, the consultants called for a 500,000 tonne incinerator to be built as part of a package of measures to deal with waste that is currently increasing at 3% per year.

Ireland currently has no municipal waste incinerators and relies heavily on landfilling of waste. In the Dublin area, municipal waste management is in crisis, with up to 30% of waste alleged to be going to unregulated landfill sites.

In addition to incineration, the consultants recommend a major increase in recycling activity, including: two new recycling plants for construction and demolition waste; a pilot scheme for collection and treatment of organic waste, eventually to be extended to 80% of households; ten new waste recycling "bring" centres; and an expansion of door-to-door collection of recyclable waste from 50,000 to 280,000 households.

The programme includes a major projected increase in waste management costs, from I£24m (Ecu31m) per year presently to £44m after five years, rising eventually to almost I£60m. A new waste charge is envisaged to pay for the increase in door-to-door collection of recyclable wastes, but could prove controversial - a water charge introduced some years ago was withdrawn following widespread non-payment.

Under the strategy, 60% of Dublin's waste should eventually be recycled, while landfilling should be reduced to a quarter of its present level. There is no target for waste reduction, though "public education units" are recommended. "Waste regulation units" are also called for within the municipalities to enforce regulations and by-laws. However, environmental groups have alleged that the municipalities themselves routinely breach regulations and legal undertakings regarding landfill sites.

The consultants involved were: MC O'Sullivan, KPMG (Dublin), COWI (Denmark) and the City of Copenhagen Environmental Protection Agency. MC O'Sullivan has been criticised by environmentalists over its role in preparing waste management plans for other local authorities. One criticism is that previous plans for waste reduction and recycling were poorly executed.

The Waste Management Plan will be subject to public discussion during 1998 and is scheduled to be formally adopted by Dublin's four local authorities by the start of 1999.

Follow Up:
Dublin Corporation: +353 1 679 6111.

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